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New Orleans Attorney Profiles 2015
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St. Tammany looks to its schools in remembering Katrina

Photo provided by St. Tammany Parish Public Schools -- Brock Elementary student Makai Hammond leads guests in the Pledge of Allegiance during the Katrina +10 Remembrance event held at Salmen High School on Friday, August 28, 2015.

The photographs that lined Salmen High School’s cafeteria Friday morning testified to the destructive force of a powerful storm but also to the strength of those who persevered. Images of destruction appeared side by side with those of renewal: pictures of new schools and smiling students, labeled with the words “community,” “pride,” “resilience” and “optimism.”… Continue reading →

Source: UNO president expected to announce plans to step down; unclear whether he's resigning

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  Dr. Peter Fos president of the University of New Orleans.

University of New Orleans President Peter Fos is expected to announce next week that he’s stepping down from the helm of the Lakefront school, according to a source in the University of Louisiana System, which oversees the school. Fos’ three-year tenure at UNO has been marked by steep funding cuts and declining enrollment in… Continue reading →

East St. John Elementary students will go back to class Monday for first time since fire damaged campus

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- An early morning fire at East St. John Elementary did extensive damage and canceled classes Friday, August 14, 2015.

East St. John Elementary School students will return to the classroom Monday after missing two weeks of school because of an Aug. 14 fire that badly damaged their campus. The classes will meet at Leon Godchaux Junior High School in nearby Reserve, which hasn’t been used on a permanent basis in years, officials said… Continue reading →

Report: New Orleans public schools see loss of black teachers and those with formal teaching credentials

Public school teachers in New Orleans are considerably more likely to be white, inexperienced, without local roots and lacking formal teaching credentials as a result of the charter school movement that has remade public education in the city since Hurricane Katrina. Those are the conclusions drawn by Tulane University’s Education Research Alliance for New Orleans in… Continue reading →

Family sues Jefferson Parish School Board after teenage son suffers broken jaw, needs surgery as result of 'knockout game' at Bonnabel High

Photo provided by Google Maps -- Alfred Bonnabel Magnet Academy High School

They called it the “knockout game,” and apparently it was simple enough to play: Find an innocent fellow student and punch him once in the face with a set of brass knuckles as he’s walking to class. That’s according to the attorney who filed a lawsuit Thursday on behalf of Raymundo and Francy Posas and who… Continue reading →

Lake Pontchartrain Elementary in LaPlace set to resume classes Thursday after fire at adjacent school

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Crews clean up a classroom at East St. John Elementary in LaPlace, La. Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015 after a fire early Friday morning.

Students at Lake Pontchartrain Elementary School in LaPlace will return to classes Thursday, less than a week after a serious fire forced the school to close. Meanwhile, officials hope students at the adjacent East St. John Elementary, where the fire actually started, will be back in class no later than Aug. 31 at the vacant… Continue reading →

Different school starting dates, calendars cause confusion and headaches for parents

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ-- It was the end of summer vacation and the dawn of a new school year as some of the 620 students head to class on the first day of school at Lake Forest Charter School at 12000 Hayne Blvd. in  New Orleans, La. Monday, Aug. 10, 2015. Schools in the metro area have a variety of starting dates.

Valerie McGinley’s 15-year-old son started 10th grade on Monday, but his sister and three stepsiblings could sleep in, riding out the varying lengths of their summer vacations. The first day of classes in New Orleans is anything but traditional for the city’s 46,000 public school students, with 19 different starting dates ranging from July 20 to… Continue reading →

See list of programs facing elimination, cuts at Loyola as school seeks to save millions

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  Loyola University in New Orleans. An advisory panel has recommended program cuts to deal with a reduce $10 million from the university's budget.

Loyola University, which went through rounds of buyouts last year to deal with falling enrollment and budget issues, is contemplating eliminating or reducing dozens of programs as part of a restructuring plan aimed at cutting its budget by $10 million over the next five years. The proposal still must be reviewed by the university’s president, the… Continue reading →

Jefferson Parish School Board approves collective bargaining agreement with teachers for first time in three years

A divided Jefferson Parish School Board voted Tuesday to approve a collective bargaining agreement with the district’s teachers for the first time in three years. It was the most decisive step yet by the board’s new union-backed majority, which took office this year promising to roll back controversial changes brought about by the district’s last superintendent,… Continue reading →

SUNO gets $82 million grant for buildings

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded Southern University at New Orleans $82 million in disaster recovery grants. The money will allow SUNO to construct four new buildings — two on its Lake Campus and two on its Park Campus. The two new Lake Campus… Continue reading →

Environmental groups threaten suit to block construction of school at site of former city dump

Environmental advocacy groups and alumni of Walter L. Cohen High School are threatening to sue the state Department of Education and the Recovery School District if they continue moving forward with construction of a new Cohen School on a contaminated site without first conducting more tests to determine whether it is hazardous. The notice… Continue reading →

UNO to outsource janitorial and grounds work, saving money but putting 80 jobs in jeopardy

Advocate file photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- University of New Orleans students walk the quad. in this file photo.

The University of New Orleans plans to outsource its building services work this fall, a cost-cutting measure that the cash-strapped Lakefront school expects will save more than $1 million in five years at the expense of nearly 80 workers whose jobs are thrown into question. It’s the latest in a series of moves that UNO has… Continue reading →

UNO is training teachers in cybersecurity

The University of New Orleans is giving intensive cybersecurity training to high school teachers from around the country this week and next. The program, known as GenCyber, allows teachers to learn about cybersecurity technology, design their own curricula and gain the expertise needed to train future generations of cybersecurity experts. GenCyber is… Continue reading →

ACT scores increase across Louisiana; see how New Orleans area fared

While still low compared with other states, the average score in Louisiana on an important test of college readiness rose in 2015, officials said Thursday. The ACT exam shows how public and private high school students fared on questions about English, math, reading and science. The state’s average score, wrapping all subjects together, was a 19.4… Continue reading →

Jefferson Parish Public School System hires new chief academic officer

Debra Cooper, chief academic officer Jefferson parish public schools.

The Jefferson Parish Public School System’s new chief academic officer is not the person many expected would get the job. Debra D. Cooper, who has been the principal at L.W. Ruppel Academy for Advanced Studies in Gretna since 2009, will be the system’s new second-in-command, Superintendent Isaac Joseph announced Wednesday. Cooper was selected after Continue reading →

Interim New Orleans charter school CEO puts $13K on school credit card, uses money at fancy clubs, restaurants, flights

D’Juan Hernandez, former Milestone Academy interim CEO, racked up up $13,000 worth of expenses on a school credit card, including $4,000 in payments to Tulane University, which his daughter attends, and $500 for plane tickets to Florida, where his family vacationed.

D’Juan Hernandez, a New Orleans attorney and businessman, spent less than a year as head of a struggling local charter school called Milestone Academy. But he managed at least one significant accomplishment before resigning last month: racking up $13,000 worth of expenses on a school credit card, including $4,000 in payments to Tulane University, which… Continue reading →

Tammany school board extends Folse’s contract through 2019

Unlike many school systems in Louisiana, St. Tammany’s is usually a collegial place — the board and administration get along, and with the exception of certain curricular issues, the public seems satisfied with the product. Thursday, the School Board reinforced that last item by extending Superintent W.L. “Trey” Folse III’s contract by three years,… Continue reading →

Jefferson Parish School Board meets Thursday to vote on Patricia Mendoza as new chief academic officer

The Jefferson Parish School Board will vote Thursday on whether to approve Patricia Mendoza as the school system’s new chief academic officer. If approved, she will replace Michelle Blouin-Williams, a longtime administrator who served as interim superintendent after James Meza retired early this year. Blouin-Williams lost her bid for the permanent post when the board voted… Continue reading →

Wholesale makeover of New Orleans schools after Katrina sows impressive progress, bitter recriminations

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Katina Williams teaches her kindergarten class at Arthur Ashe Charter School in New Orleans, one of many that have come on the landscape since Katrina Friday, September 6, 2013.

Georgia lawmakers must have whiplash. Back in February, Gov. Nathan Deal flew a whole delegation of them down to New Orleans with him so they could see up close how charter schools have transformed public education here, an approach the governor hopes to copy in his own state. They toured some of the best-performing charter schools… Continue reading →

Orleans Parish school system taps two from Jefferson Parish

The Orleans Parish School Board has hired two high-level administrators who worked under former Jefferson Parish schools Superintendent James Meza, one of whom was recently passed over to succeed him. Michelle Blouin-Williams, who was interim superintendent for the Jefferson Parish Public School System until the board selected Isaac Joseph as permanent superintendent in May,… Continue reading →

Press Club of New Orleans awards scholarships to two mass communications career hopefuls

Former Press Club of New Orleans President Kevin Mumphrey with Southeastern Louisiana University sophomore Maria Goddard on June 15, 2015. Goddard was one of two Louisiana college students who received a $2,500 scholarship from the Press Club.

The Press Club of New Orleans recently awarded a $2,500 scholarship to Southeastern Louisiana University sophomore Maria Goddard and University of Louisiana at Lafayette junior Holly Duchmann. Goddard and Duchmann each received checks meant to support their pursuit of a career in journalism, public relations or other mass communication fields. The two were… Continue reading →